Contextual Analysis of a Statue of Osiris

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A Contextual and Iconographical Analysis
of the Statue of Osiris
The Egyptian people, much like many other civilizations, were very spiritual and religious. They had many gods and worshiped each of them in many ways. One of the most notable Egyptian gods was Osiris, ruler of the Underworld. One of the many ways the Egyptian people showed praise to Osiris, and many other gods, was to create decorative statues of him.

To understand the object and its spiritual connections, it is necessary to know the story of Osiris. Osiris was the child of the Earth god Geb and sky goddess Nut and was believed to be a pharaoh of Egypt. His brother Seth then murdered him. He was then resurrected by his sister/wife Isis. It is from this resurrection that Osiris becomes the god of both the afterlife and agriculture. Since the afterlife was such a key idea in Egyptian religion, Osiris became one of the most popular Egyptian deities.

There are many different forms of the Osiris statue. This particular statue is casted using both bronze and gold. It would have been created from a prefabricated mold and then pulled out after cooling. Other forms of the Osiris statue include wooden and clay statues. The form of the statue is extremely simple. It shows Osiris in traditional funeral gown with his Atef crown, while holding a crook and flail. The crook and flail show Osiris as a Shepard god. The statue was most likely at one point in time highly decorative with color, much like any other piece of Egyptian art. However, the paint chipping, along with the oxidation of the bronze, has washed away any color.

The popularity of Osiris would make the dating of this statue hard. Since he was so influential in Egyptian religion the statue could have been made at any point. However, it is noted throughout Egyptian history that Osiris rose as a key Egyptian deity during the time of the Middle Kingdom. It is during the time of the Middle Kingdom that the cult of Osiris became a large...
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